The Montreal Impact fell to New York City FC Saturday night 2-1 at Stade Saputo, in front of 18,112 spectators, despite dominating the opposition 25-10 in total shots.
“It hurts because this was probably one of our best games at home, from start to finish, in terms of possession, chances created and shots,” explained head coach Frank Klopas. “Sometimes, the better team doesn’t always win on the day and it hurts.”
Despite the home side’s dominance in the first half, it was Spanish international David Villa who opportunistically opened the scoring for NYCFC in the 34th minute. After a long clearance attempt, Villa found some space down the left flank and turned a Patrick Mullins pass far post for his seventh of the season.
“I think that the first half was one of our best performances,” explained McInerney. “We gave them one chance and they scored. One error and there wasn’t much we could do. We can build on some things from tonight’s game and next game is a must win.”
IMFC continued its dominance in the second half, finally breaking through in the 77th minute when Nacho Piatti converted a penalty kick he earned after a hand ball in the box for his fifth goal of the season.
However, Villa worked his magic once again in the 82nd minute on a free kick, curling it low past Bush to the far post for his brace.
“I feel like I let the guys down,” said Evan Bush, who was unhappy with himself after Villa’s second. “It’s a save that I usually make and should make. You want the guy to take the shot to that side and if he beats you top corner, then that’s ok.”
The best chances of the first half fell to the home side, with Piatti coming closest to goal with a low, left-footed shot in the 15th minute that just missed the right post. Two minutes later, the Argentine found some room inside the box, but his shot that beat the keeper was blocked by an NYCFC defender.
Nacho then sprung Dilly Duka all alone in behind the defence, but his shot was blocked as NYCFC keeper Josh Saunders came charging out of goal in the 21st minute.
The second half started much the same way as the first, with IMFC coming close in the 56th minute when Jack McInerney played a low cross screaming through the box, but Andres Romero’s redirection went just short of the post.
Defender Laurent Ciman blasted a free kick passed the wall that forced Saunders to make his best save of the night in the 63rd minute, stretching out to his right to get a hand on the dipping ball.
The Impact’s next game will be played on Saturday, July 11, at 8pm at Stade Saputo, against the Columbus Crew SC. (tickets: ticketmaster.ca).
MTL – GK-Evan Bush; D-Ambroise Oyongo, Laurent Ciman, Victor Cabrera, Donny Toia (Eric Miller 88’); M-Calum Mallace (Dominic Oduro 63’), Marco Donadel, Dilly Duka (Anthony Jackson-Hamel 83’), Ignacio Piatti, Andrés Romero; F-Jack McInerney
Subs not used: GK-Eric Kronberg; D-Bakary Soumare, Wandrille Lefèvre; M-Nigel Reo-Coker
NYC – GK-Josh Saunders; D-Chris Wingert, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, RJ Allen, Shay Facey; M-Andrew Jacobson, Kwadwo Poku (Adam Nemec 83’), Mehdi Ballouchy (Ned Grabavoy 65’), Thomas McNamara; F-David Villa, Patrick Mullins (Pablo Alvarez 80’)
Subs not used: GK-Ryan Meara; A-Khiry Shelton
NYC – Villa (Mullins) 34’
MTL – Piatti (PEN) 77’
NYC – Villa 82’
NYC – Poku 45+1’
NYC – Mullins 53’
NYC – Allen 61’
MTL – Ciman 69’
MTL – Romero 90+3’